Sabrina Amrani presents “El Mundo,” the inaugural solo exhibition by Carlos Aires at the gallery. In this installation, Carlos Aires commandeered the space, crafting a disquieting metaphor that hovers between restlessness and hope, between discouragement and the determination to endure and persist. The awareness that human energies expended in building, destroying, and repairing can never find respite permeates the artistic endeavour of shoring up ceilings and floors. This symbolic act mirrors the world itself, struggling to stay afloat. Feelings of surprise, uncertainty, and hope blend with contemplations on death, which serve as a recurring theme, akin to a subtle, ever-present soundtrack.
“El Mundo” (2023) is an installation composed of two primary material components: a series of construction struts and a collection of sculptures, all centred around a single concept—support. The metal struts bear phrases etched into iron, culled from the artist’s personal and autobiographical discography. These phrases reference the universal power of music and the profound, unspoken connection it forms among individuals. The brass sculptures represent iconic works carrying deep cultural significance, created through 3D printing from digital files. Like a digital vandal, Aires appropriates fragments of historical masterpieces, finishing them with clean and somewhat abrupt cuts.
These sculptures exude a sense of finality, resembling broken or terminated forms, underlining the recurring notion of the death of art and the fading of traditional pillars that have historically upheld it, from the notion of individual genius and originality to the social and commercial strategies that drive its production. Paradoxically, these sculptures play a dual role, supporting the struts that press against them, and stabilising the gallery’s floors and ceilings. The theme of death persists with the presence of a wooden coffin resembling an art transport container. This coffin box bears the exact dimensions of the artist’s body and features the complete lyrics of the song “After I’m Gone” by Jimmy Scott inscribed within. The box has remained sealed since its construction in 2011, its lyrics revealed only through a video shot with an infrared camera. The coffin typically accompanies the artist at his exhibitions and is now displayed on the gallery’s top floor.
While Carlos Aires’ installation lacks a specific narrative, it is intricately connected to the Baroque notion of vanitas, Existentialist reflections on persistence and disappearance, and the political awareness that both his artwork “El Mundo” and our world as a whole can vanish at any moment. The act of shoring up a gallery extends the concept of endurance in the art realm to the global metaphor of the essential need to support our planet. Visitors immerse themselves in an atmosphere that awakens their awareness of the futile and the necessity of continuing to think, feel, create, and resist.
About Carlos Aires
Carlos Aires, a Fine Arts graduate from the University of Granada, gained international acclaim through training in Holland, Belgium, and New York. Recognised as a leading contemporary artist, he returned to Spain in 2009, establishing his studio in Madrid and founding the Mala Fama studio. Aires, awarded prestigious honours like Generation 2008 from Caja Madrid and the Pont Museum Prize, notably received Belgium’s Prix de la Jeune Peinture Belge in 2005. Renowned for a critical vision of society, his multidisciplinary work explores power representations, incorporating antagonistic elements. Aires recontextualises objects, materials, and traditions, reflecting deeply on contemporary global culture dynamics. His exhibitions span international institutions and feature in significant public collections worldwide.
Location: Sabrina Amrani, Madrid
Dates: November 8 – January 13, 2023